Workplace bullying in healthcare I: The Joint Commission standards

We hope that healthcare is all about getting healthier, but if you work in healthcare, you may see a lot of very unhealthy workplace bullying.  The stakes are high: Not only do these behaviors hurt healthcare workers (as a later post will suggest, nurses often bear the brunt of this mistreatment), but also they affect the quality of patient care.

Joint Commission

The Joint Commission, an independent, non-profit organization that accredits health care organizations and programs, has entered the fray.  In 2008, the Joint Commission issued a standard on intimidating and disruptive behaviors at work, citing concerns about patient care:

Intimidating and disruptive behaviors can foster medical errors, contribute to poor patient satisfaction and to preventable adverse outcomes, increase the cost of care, and cause qualified clinicians, administrators and managers to seek new positions in more professional environments.  Safety and quality of patient care is dependent on teamwork, communication, and a collaborative work environment. To assure quality and to promote a culture of safety, health care organizations must address the problem of behaviors that threaten the performance of the health care team.

JC Leadership Standards

Two leadership standards are now part of the Joint Commission’s accreditation provisions:

The first requires an institution to have “a code of conduct that defines acceptable and disruptive and inappropriate behaviors.”

The second requires an institution “to create and implement a process for managing disruptive and inappropriate behaviors.”

Healthcare stakeholders are including workplace bullying among initiatives designed in part to meet the Joint Commission standards.  These include training and assistance for healthcare providers and inclusion of workplace bullying in employee policies.


Link to Joint Commission standards on intimidating and disruptive behaviors

Note: This is the first in a short series of posts on workplace bullying in healthcare, running this week and next.

Link to the second post in the series, discussing a Vanderbilt U. program for physicians

Link to the third post in the series, discussing tort claims brought against physicians by healthcare workers

Link to the fourth and final post in the series, discussing bullying of nurses and how nurses’ unions can respond


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8 responses

  1. Pingback: Workplace bullying in healthcare II: Vanderbilt U program for doctors « Minding the Workplace

  2. Pingback: Workplace bullying in healthcare III: A sampling of legal cases « Minding the Workplace

  3. Pingback: Workplace bullying in health care IV: Nurses bullied and responding « Minding the Workplace

  4. Yes, I just read in Nurse magazin about workplac “lateral bullying” among nurses. It is sad that in an environment where people should focus on treating others kindly and with respect, there is agression in between coworkers…
    But recognizing that there’s a problem is the first step; then cracking down on the bullies and educating them on the negative effects of their behavior is critical.. and often a little coaching is necesarry to transform these agressive hard workers into productive workers (who can channel their extra energy into providing better care to patients)

  5. Pingback: Nursing as a Calling: Aspirations and Realities « Minding the Workplace

  6. Pingback: Newsweek on bullying and related behaviors « Minding the Workplace

  7. Pingback: Healthcare bloggers on workplace bullying « Minding the Workplace

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